It’s no secret that most people consume way too much sugar daily. I mean think about it – The (probably several) sweet cups of coffee that you drink every morning. The chocolate cake or donut you have around three o clock in the afternoon to get you through to dinner, the dessert you have after dinner, and the ice cream you get a craving for are all absolutely jam-packed with the stuff (and I’m probably not even listing the half of it, not to mention the amount we consume on an exceptionally stressful day).
And you can bet your bottom dollar that anything labelled low fat should just read replaced by sugar. Men should be getting no more than roughly 70g of sugar per day, women 50; most people exceed that before lunchtime. In fact, the average American consumes about 31 pounds of sugar a year.
It’s not your fault. It’s an addiction that you’ve very likely been exposed to since you were just a kid. But like with every other addiction, there are many risks involved with consuming too much sugar – Diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, premature aging, and even depression don’t even begin to scratch the tip of the iceberg.
Brooke Alpert, certified nutritionist and dermatologist Dr. Patricia Farris, co-authors of the book The Sugar Detox understands exactly how you feel. They get where you’re coming from, and they have the solution:
Sugar truly is addictive. Your body reacts to it like a drug and craves it constantly. What we’re asking you to do is to quit – cold turkey.
The initial detox – the part of the plan that gets you through your addiction – takes three days, and that’s the part of the plan we will discuss in this article.
How does the sugar detox plan work
Are you one of those people who has “tried to eat healthy” before but quit because you always felt hungry? Chances are that you weren’t hungry at all; it was a withdrawal from sugar making you feel that way.
During the three-day detox, you won’t be eating any dairy, you’re not allowed to consume any fruit (aside from lemon and lime, although I’m not sure either one of those should actually count as a fruit anyway), you can’t have wheat or other starches, and you’re not allowed to add sugar to anything (including your coffee). Eventually, you’ll slowly add these things (aside from the added sugars) to your diet. Still, they could make you crave sugar more during the three days, so they should be skipped out altogether.
Don’t think that because those things are off the list you’ll always feel hungry, though! This detox promotes the consumption of lean, healthy proteins such as chicken, eggs, fish, tofu, and tons of vegetables. Snacking is allowed as long as you stick to nuts and pepper sticks with hummus (which is actually a lot more filling – and even delicious – than it sounds).
I will warn you that if you’re a serious coffee addict, you might have some difficulty with this detox – It only allows you one cup of black coffee daily. However, you can have as much green or herbal tea as you’d like, and you’re encouraged to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day (which can be flavored with the lemon and/or lime if you prefer a little flavor).
The 3-day detox plan
Breakfast: Three Scrambled Eggs
Snack: A handful of nuts (almonds are always a great choice – and my personal favorite – but any nut works).
Lunch: A poached (or baked) chicken breast with mixed baby greens drizzled in lemon juice and half of an avocado.
Snack: Pepper sticks with spinach hummus.
Dinner: Salmon with stir-fried vegetables and edamame or spinach.
Breakfast: An omelet with three scrambled eggs, spinach, and mushrooms.
Lunch: Leafy greens with tuna (season with lemon and/or lime juice).
Snack: Pepper sticks dipped in hummus.
Dinner: Lettuce salad with avocado (and more lemon and lime juice if you’d like), pork tenderloin roast, and sautéed Brussels sprouts and mushrooms.
Breakfast: Three scrambled eggs with sautéed spinach, tarragon, and shrimp.
Snack: Nuts (doesn’t have to be the same nuts every day – Feel free to experiment and find your favorite!).
Lunch: A grilled turkey burger with sliced tomato, lettuce, and sautéed mushrooms with some kale chips.
Snack: Pepper sticks with hummus (Protip: Hummus can be purchased at the grocery store, but I promise you it tastes so much better when you make it yourself. Here’s a super easy recipe that can be tweaked to suit your individual taste – aka more or less garlic, no paprika, etc. If you have a food processor or blender, you have no excuses).
Dinner: Baked salmon or cod served over bok choy (squeeze lemon over it if you need a bit of a flavor boost) with mixed greens.
So, as you can see, you’re certainly not going to starve while detoxing.
You’ll probably feel hungry
As I mentioned, your body will probably go through a sort of “withdrawal” while detoxing from sugar, which could present itself with undeniable hunger for the first day or so. It will be a case of mind over matter here – You must convince yourself you’re not hungry. But you’ll get through it and feel much better afterward.
Does the Sugar Detox plan work?
If I had to wager a guess, I’d say that the odds of you being successful on this diet (which, if you look at the book, you’ll see spans far more than the initial three-day detox) will depend strictly on your level of willpower. You’re probably going to experience some moodiness, and you might get a pretty rough headache, but if you can get through all of that, I don’t doubt for a second that you could at least begin to beat by using the advice in this plan.
Do I think the three days are some magic cure-all and that once they’re over, you could sit in front of a chocolate cake or a box of your favorite donuts without even being tempted? Not even close. But that’s what the rest of the book is for. I like this diet because it deals with changing your long-term eating habits and focuses mainly on the importance of a diet high in whole and organic foods.
Is It Safe?
For you? Sure. For the people that have to live and/or work with and around you, maybe not. Your best bet is probably to do this detox when you’ve got three days to basically hide in your room (or keep yourself busy, whatever works best for you) just in case you end up experiencing killer headaches and/or mood swings.
All in all, this eating plan is not only great for helping you kick your sugar habit, it’s a great choice for anyone looking to change their eating habits and lead a stronger, healthier life altogether.
Have you ever tried to kick your addiction to sugar in the past? Were you successful, or did you ‘fall off the wagon’ after a while because of the temptation and/or convenience of sugary, over-processed foods?